Thursday, May 22, 2014

Drink Tanks

I stumbled upon an interesting product recently called Drink Tanks.  Boutique growlers are really taking off recently and the same old glass bottle with a white metal cap is just not sufficient for some consumers.
     Founded in 2010 as the Pistol Creek Bottle Company it was later re-branded as Drink Tanks when the focus was redirected from water bottles to making growlers.
     These 18/8 stainless steel, double walled and vacuum insulated growlers are hand assembled in Bend, OR and come with a lifetime warranty. The company funded their Kickstarter Campaign in April 2013 and made $236,772 nearly 8 times the original goal of $30,000.  This allowed them to reach stretch goals and offer seven powder coating colors as well as custom engraving.
Powder coating and engraving are not the only add-ons to the Drink Tank.  A patent pending Keg Cap is also sold that is unique to the Drink Tank.  This innovation is where other boutique growlers have come up short.  The custom cap allows you to pressurize your beer and then serve it from a picnic tap.  Purging the CO2 from the top of the beer will also let you keep your beer fresh longer.  The site says it will only stay fresh for one day but I think they mean cold or it is to set expectations low.  In my experience beer will stay fresh in your standard glass growler for at least a couple to three days if properly refrigerated.
     The growler is not the only product sold by Drink Tanks, they also sell the Silipint which is a silicone pint glass.  This is good for a couple reasons, it will not break when dropped and silicone is a much better insulator than glass.  This keeps your hand from warming up your beer. You can find more information or buy one at www.drinktanks.com.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ninkasi Brewing Company - Lux Review

Brewery: Ninkasi Brewing Company
Location: Eugene, OR
Beer: Lux
Style: German Style Helles Lager
Serving: Snifter Glass (12 oz.) 
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: 20

Part of the Ninkasi Prismatic Series this beer was brewed once for this limited release.

A (3/3): Very clear, champagne colored beer with a small fluffy head that quickly dissolves into the beer.

S (8/12): While this beer is hopped with three varieties of German Hallertau hops there is not a tremendous amount of aroma coming from them.  This beer does however emits a nice grainy, cereal aroma.

T (16/20): The grain and cereal from the nose transition nicely onto the tongue.  Drinking also introduces a slight grassy flavor and the Bohemian Pilsner malt give more of a doughy character.  The beer kind of screams German stylistically,  I couldn't really tell you exactly what it is, but this beer has a very distinct German flavor.

M (4/5): A light bodied beer with slightly chalky texture and a medium amount of carbonation.  The glass finishes smooth with a pleasant dry finish.

O (7/10): Easy drinking, crisp and clean, this beer will be a real treat this summer or with a meal that you don't want your beer hogging the flavor spotlight while still giving you a great flavor.

Total:(38/50)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Stone Brewing Co. - Punishment Review

Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Location: Escondido, CA
Beer: Punishment
Style: Chile Beer
Serving: Snifter Glass (500 ml.) 
ABV: 12.0%

A (3/3): A cloudy brown beer with a couple fingers of yellowish orange head that does no lacing down the glass.

S (6/12): Slightly fruity, sweet and malty to begin with but the pepper aroma quickly overpowers.  Smells almost of a vinegary hot sauce, not the same aroma but similar to Tabasco in... "nose feel?" Slightly vegetal, similar to smelling a fresh cut jalapeno.  A slight smokey oak character resides hidden behind the flames.

T (13/20): Took the first sip with a bit of dread in my heart after my adventures with Crime but I eventually manned up and took my first sip.  Astonishingly sweet upon first impression and then the bourbon barrel aging came though strongly.  This entire time flaming peppers torment my mouth with their sting but not the masochistic suffering that Crime delivered at least to start.  Not even half way through the first snifter this beer begins to deserve its name.  I was determined to finish this beer and it began to become clear this was not going to be fun.
M (3/5): Actually easier to characterize than its unlawful counterpart. A medium mouthfeel with a thicker body and a lively carbonation.  One thing that the peppers do well is to mask the 12% alcohol which could barely be detected.

O (4/10): As the philosophers Def Leppard once stated

"I'm hot, sticky sweet
 Uh from my head to my feet, yeah"

Punishment, for how hot and unpleasant it is to drink, does sport a surprising sweetness to it hidden behind the spice. The sweet bourbon and caramel flavors really come through the inferno to trick your palate.  Again, this beer maintains a much higher rating than I would normally give a beer that pained me to drink. Even though the goal of this beer is so awful, it is reached. Also, its an interesting experiment really pushing the boundaries of beer into the painful.

Total:(28/50)

UPDATE 1:  Just poured the last drop of beer from the bottle and a big lump of yeast came plopping out.  So in addition to the massive heartburn that I can feel engulfing my insides I will also be blessed with what I can only hope is burning flatulence. I looked at the bottom of the glass and it is coated with a fractal of decaying Saccharomyces cerevisiae corpses.
UPDATE 2: Finished the beer.  Like I said I would... DAD.  Some final thoughts that linger with me are as follows:

  1. Sweet vanilla oak character blessing this beer from the bourbon barrels in which it was aged
  2. A manifestation of what I can only imagine a dip in the river Styx would feel like for my tongue and throat
  3. An intoxication and pain level (both gustatory and intestinal) that is usually reserved for a drunken night of poor decisions.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Stone Brewing Co. - Crime Review

Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Location: Escondido, Ca
Beer: Crime
Style: Chile Beer
Serving: Snifter Glass (500 ml.) 
ABV: 9.60%

From the Stone Website:

Q: “What do you call it when Greg takes his entire harvest bounty of chili pepper varieties from his own personal garden, take half of them and add to…and thus ruin…an otherwise beautiful oak barrel of Double Dry Hopped Lukcy Basartd Ale?”
A: “A Crime!”

A (3/3): Murky, dark brown  with dingy yellow head that moves in and sets up shop on top of the beer.  Pretty decent lacing coats the glass I couldn't really drink it fast enough to gauge how long it stayed around though.

S (8/12): The smell is aggressively pepper-y,  I have smelled hot sauces that gives off less hot pepper aroma than this beer.  There is a slightly oaked aroma followed by a nominal malt sweetness but for the most part this is a pepper beer.

T (12/20): Actually, not as hot as I was expecting; during the beginning of this sentence.  The first drink is a little milder than the Stone slow-mo reaction videos lead you to believe (below), but it definitely catches up to you after a couple seconds.


I really like spicy foods, so to say that this beer was not too hot is not saying much.  For a lot of people this beer would be a drain pour, simply based on its Scoville rating.  I however started out really liking this beer because of its spice. The flavor definitely has some oak aged character along with a slight smokiness that starts off really nice. However, after about 1/2 of the bottle the novelty wore off and the spiciness was all that I could taste in the beer.

M (2/5): It is difficult to properly characterize the body of this beer when so much of the mouth feel is a burning sensation.  I would say medium bodied with a... I don't really know how would you describe drinking really watery hot sauce?

O (4/10): When pouring this beer I was a little overzealous and it began to overflow my glass.  So like any experienced drinker would do I quickly went to drink the foam before it overflowed.  I managed to keep most of it from overflowing but I got trial by fire introduction to this beer.  I actually said out-loud to my dog "Shit that is a hot beer!" He didn't really seem to care as he licked up the foam that had fallen onto the carpet.  I definitely didn't hate or regret drinking this beer.  That being said, I would probably not buy another bottle for 20$ but absolutely worth a try.

Total:(29/50)

UP NEXT:  I review the second half of this fiery beer duo "Punishment."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Heretic Brewing Co. - Shallow Grave Review

Brewery: Heretic Brewing Co.
Location: Pittsburg, Ca
Beer: Shallow Grave
Style: Porter
Serving: Snifter Glass (22 oz.) 
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: 33

A (3/3): Very dark brown, approaching black with a dark tan colored rocky head.  The lacing coats the glass fairly well when drank.

S (8/12): An aroma of roasted malt with chocolate with faint hints of caramel, cocoa and a touch or raisin.

T (17/20): The coffee flavor was presented immediately very strongly,  followed by a roasted malts and light caramel flavor.

M (4/5): A medium bodied beer with a smooth texture, carbonation, and a very smooth finish.

O (8/10): This is a solid porter,  probably one of the best I've had.  The balance of the roasted malts and chocolate take a bow, drop the mic, and step off stage.

Total:(40/50)